If you do anything on the web, particularly things like web
development or other types of website maintenance, you’re probably
aware of “FTP” or File Transfer Protocol. The FTP protocol, and its
sibling SFTP (Secure FTP), are two of the quiet workhorses of pushing
bits around the internet.
The current traditional approach to dealing with file transfers via
FTP is to use a graphical utility such as FileZilla, CuteFTP, WinSCP or
others, and then drag-and-drop files to and from the remote site. The
previous approach was to use the “ftp” program to perform the same
operations at the command line.
I’ve become addicted to WebDrive which allows you to do both and much, much
more, by simply making a FTP connection appear as a virtual disk drive
on your machine.
That’s an incredibly simple approach that enables a world of
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As I sit here, the entire hard disk of the server that hosts Ask Leo!
and a few of my other sites is accessible on my Windows machine as
enables a world of flexibility.”
So the obvious result is that copying a file to and from my server
is exactly like copying a file to any other location on my network. I
can use the command line, I can use Windows Explorer, in fact I can use
whatever approach to copying files around that I like. I can even fire
up my text editor and edit a file directly on the remote server.
There’s no “upload” or “download”, there’s just “copy this file over
there” and the right thing happens.
I happen to use SFTP using public key authentication, which is fully
supported by WebDrive. But regular FTP as well as WebDAV are supported.
In fact, in checking the site in preparation for this recommendation, I
find that WebDrive now also supports the Amazon S3 service as well.
Connect and forget; once your remote service appears as a drive on
your system, you don’t need to remember different approaches to moving
things around, you just treat it like any other drive on your system –
albeit slower since it’s across your internet connection.
In my case, that also enables automation. I have batch files and
scripts that run periodically to perform backups and other operations which are
all easily enabled by simply accessing the remote site connected as a
is a utility that I rarely think of, and yet something I rely on almost
every day. It’s not free, but in my opinion, worth its modest cost.
I recommend it.